Friday, April 27, 2007


It's been a long week, full of good, though spoon zapping activities. I need to get my supply up again because only daughter is coming home next week for a few days. We haven't seen each other since Christmas. And she won't be home after this bit until next Christmas. I think I'm starting to accept that this is the way life works with adult children. It still feels odd though.

Youngest son is doing well. To not have underlying tension between us is a gift. It was easier and less stressful with an empty nest, though. On the positive side (feels like a negative some moments) I am being stretched and challenged to really live my program of recovery. My big book is on my bedside table now and I read it regularly. I am looking forward to tomorrow's AA birthday meeting with one of my favourite people in recovery celebrating 20 years of sobriety.

Oldest son had his 21st birthday this week. We're hoping to see him this weekend. I don't know if I mentioned that he got engaged on St. Patrick's Day but if I didn't, just know I'm pretty pleased. I think about all those nights of tucking him in as a little boy and praying for his future wife. Some (silent)prayers were "omg, give her plenty of help to accept his pack rat ways." Others were prayers for a young woman with God on the radar screen. And this young woman has that. I don't know how any marriage can survive, especially these days, without God at the center of it. Actually I like her so much that the last time they came to visit I wanted oldest son to leave her here because we weren't done visiting yet. And only daughter finally gets a sister. That makes me teary.

Dearest one. The new job is a great opportunity for growth. He's capable and doing well at the job. There are days though when he'd like to hide under a rock instead. I don't know if it's all the stuff with youngest son or the court ruling or the stresses of the new job but he often looks haggard these days. Lots to sort out there.

And me? I came to the difficult conclusion this past while that I need to talk to my doctor about pain management. I don't know if it's the result of going to the chronic pain/fatigue group, which has taught me to be much more aware of my body, or the stress of having youngest son move back home or what, but I'm now aware that I wake up at night to roll over because I'm in pain and that same pain is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore during the day as well. I don't know what managing that is going to look like but I've finally accepted that doing so is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Oh, yes - we survived 6 solid months of snow winter and over seven feet of snow to finally have spring in the air. I picked crocuses the other day so that makes it official! Spring is full of hope.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Grief Club

I had just come from the court house, where I had expected to hear a judge sentence the man responsible for the death of dearest one's brother. As I emptied my pockets for the officer on security duty, I shared with him my reason for being there. He got this look on his face, then hesitated, before telling me that the sentencing had happened two days earlier. He knew because he had been in the court room to hear it. There aren't words to decribe the sick feeling I got in the pit of my stomach. How the police had given us the wrong date for the hearing is something still hard to accept. I wanted to take the phone message from the Staff Seargant and play it for the whole building to hear. WTF? In my mind being at the sentencing was going to bring closure. How was that supposed to happen when the hearing had already taken place?

We waited for someone to officially find out what the sentence had been. When they told us he had received 2 years less a day for pleading guilty to impaired driving causing death I teared up, turned and walked around the corner. While dearest one and youngest son spent some time talking with the officers I leaned against the brick wall and cried. Even though it's been nearly three years since my brother-in-law died, there was something about hearing the sentence that brought reality right smack dab up in my face. He really was never coming back. And the pain of his death felt as fresh as the day I saw his covered up body on the ground.

There was not a lot of time to deal with the feelings that day. After a shared meal with extended family, one where we were all subdued and numb, dearest one and I went our separate ways. I had a list of things to do before I went on retreat later that day and he was off to help youngest son move the rest of his belongings home. On the way to my chronic pain and fatigue group meeting I stopped at the library. Before I went in I sat in my van and told God that I had until 4 o'clock to deal with my feelings as after that I was going to be part of a retreat team whose focus was to serve others for the next three days. My head felt so full and I was as far away from being able to focus as a person who's lost their glasses. As I walked into the building it felt like the grief of the morning was settling deep within me. I spent a few moments talking with the librarian and as we parted I told her I had come in to see what was on the new books' shelf. She glanced over at it and said, "Not much."

Among the "not much" turned out to be a book called The Grief Club by Melody Beattie. Its chapters cover all kinds of grief from the death of a loved one to the adjustment of having a chronic illness. A bit of hope was renewed in me as I held the book close and made my way to the check out counter.

At the beginning of my weekend, the retreat team gathered in the chapel where we were given a piece of paper in the shape of a cross. We were asked to write on it anything that we needed to let go of in order to be free to serve others that weekend. I scribbled all the pain of the morning onto that little piece of paper. As I sat and meditated I got this mental picture of my brother-in-law resting his head on God's shoulder. Then these words came into my head, "Hope, this is the only place he has ever felt fully loved. He is safe with me. Let him go and be at peace." And the mental picture stayed in my head long enough for me to embrace it.

This morning I finished reading The Grief Club and the final chapter had so much to say to me. Before I quote a chunk of it below I need to share that one day last week I told God that I was ready to forgive myself. That whatever purpose beating myself up had served all these years, and I wasn't sure it served any good purpose, that it was time to let go and move forward. I told God that I didn't know what it looked like to live in that forgiveness and I wasn't even sure I had the courage to, so I prayed for the courage to have courage to walk in it. That is my prayer for the man responsible for the death of my brother-in-law too. And I have the feeling I'm supposed to go tell him that in person. Lord, have mercy.

"I watched a movie about a husband and wife who were wrongfully convicted and spent fourteen years in prison. When their sons grew up, they freed their parents. It was a true story. I cried so hard watching it. I didn't spend a lifetime in prison, but I know what it feels like to be imprisoned by guilt. It dominates you, runs and ruins your life. Like Marge said, "Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving." If feels like it lasts forever. If you even start to feel happy, you wreck your joy. You don't stand up for yourself. You let people walk over you. Who am I to say what I want? you think. You don't believe you seserve peace. "That's my punishment," you think when anything bad happens. God doesn't love me You not only have pain from the loss, you have pain from believing you deserve to lose what you don't have. It takes courage to forgive ourselves."(emphasis added)~ Melody Beattie in The Grief Club

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ya Think?

Jackie over at Life in the Canadian Desert nominated me for a thinking blogger award. The Thinking Blogger Award is an effort to build a network of blogs linked together outside of the usual search engines.

Here is how it works (sort of like a meme):

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that tickle your grey matter. [I have grey matter? I thought it was all black and white! :)]

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme;

3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.

When looking at all the blogs I read and trying to decide to pick five is just not fun. But pick I must so here goes:

1. Ragamuffin Rambler. Reading Steve's blog encouraged me to go back to AA. His honesty and self reflection challenge me to do the same.

2. Inner Dorothy. Sue's Sunday prayers are a comfort. Having spent all my church time in circles where women pastors were a no no, reading Sue's blog challenged me to examine that thinking. I've since come to the conclusion that there is a necessity for both men and women in every area of life in order for there to be balance. Some days I wonder what the Vatican would look like with women cardinals.

3. The folks over at the Boar's Head Tavern make my brain hurt some days. I'm no theologian and before reading over there I had no idea of the difference between a Calvinist and Reformed Christian. Hell, they might be the same thing for all I know, still. But I do read there regularly and feel like I'm eavesdropping (which suits my curious nature just fine). What I like about their conversation is that it is a conversation and not a hit-you-over-the-head with my right opinion kind of thing. Lots of grace and humour and thinking to be found there. And even when they disagree with one another they will readily drop their weapons of choice to support and pray for one another. I often wish the honesty with which they exchange ideas could be found in church foyer conversation.

4. Peter over at Another Country has made me do a double take on my previous views about the United Church of Canada. I was an elder in that Church once upon a time and distanced myself from it quickly when I went the fundamentalist/evangelical way. And I kept my biased viewpoint up until I started reading his and Sue's blogs. Since then I've found lots I can embrace and the stuff I'm not sure of yet is held in that place of tension we all have about other Christians who see things differently than we do. It no longer is as scary to me to acknowledge that place of tension as it once was.

5. Look at my sidebar to see other blogs I read. It's not an exhaustive list because I've been too lazy to update it.

The blogs I picked were done purposely because they challenge me on previously held perspectives. So much of my thinking has had an overhaul since entering the blogsphere. What I once was so sure of has taken a shit kicking. That's not a bad thing. I used to dismiss anyone who came from a church tradition I didn't agree with. Life was simpler that way. I didn't have to think. But it messes with your head when you see someone from another tradition loving so purely, in such a way that you know you are not. And all the right thinking in the world doesn't seem to cut it anymore. I came from a church culture where right thinking was thought to be the goal. And I readily absorbed what others told me was right thinking. The trouble was that I kept shifting from one "right thinker" to another because none of the right thinking was transforming me. By the time I began reading blogs I was already wary of anyone who proclaimed to be a right thinker when it came to faith.

Which might sound strange to some because I eventually ended up Catholic. Since becoming Catholic I have been reproved repeatedly for distancing myself from any part of my previous church experience. I've been encouraged to embrace what has formed me and made me who I am today. I've also been encouraged to take a a more ecumenical view. I have never been so challenged to actually live out the gospel instead of just talking about it. I see how badly I do that and yet have more hope than ever that I can live it, even if in small ways. I believe that the Eucharist is what transforms me.

What has hounded me throughout my journey in blogland is the thought, "But look at how they love one another." Whenever I see people truly loving one another I know Jesus is present. And that happens in places and situations I would have previously dismissed. It seems rather ironic to be nominated for a thinking blogger award when blogland itself has been such a huge part of me becoming a thinker.

The lack of comments on my resurrection journey series of posts has me feeling that OMG I just bared my soul and the silence makes me want to scream, "Beam me up Scotty, quick." You see, somethings never change, like my insecurity that I'm invisible. I wonder if there's a blog award for that?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Resurrection Journey Part Six

Read parts one, two, three, four, and five.
Things Break by Tobin Marsh

This side of the resurrection
In the brokenness, defeat and sorrow
Is where lie all the deep lessons of my life.

Nothing wants to be broken,
And yet everything must be broken.
To never break is to lie stagnant and eventually die.

Things break.

I break now and again.
Picking up the pieces can be an act
Of profound faith.


The following is an excerpt I wrote to only daughter:
"Saturday afternoon (Easter Vigil) I was sleeping the sleep of the dead when [youngest son] came home from his girlfriend's. He went to your dad and asked him directly (get your kleenex) if I had something against him. This opened the way for your dad to confess to [youngest son] how wrong he had been to make him his confidante as a kid and the burden he had carried because of it. He also shared my feelings with him and how I had held it against him instead of against your dad that he had this place that was not his to have. [Only daughter], the weight of the world fell off your brother's shoulders when he realized that he was okay as a person and there was nothing wrong with him. That my feelings of hostility - that he has rightly felt all his life - had nothing to do with him per see....that he wasn't defective. Your dad told [youngest son] how the anger and hostility on both our parts should have been directed towards him instead of at each other. It was a good healing talk.

I was asleep when they were talking and [youngest son] came into the bedroom and woke me up. We had a gut honest talk and to have to admit to him my feelings of hostility was very humbling. It is as if everything is set in the right order finally and we can begin to heal and have the relationship that could have been possible from the beginning. When he left the room I turned over and just cried. So humbled that God would answer our prayer so quickly and felt so unworthy when I know there are parents who pray for years and nothing changes. I am teary all over again just typing that.

And so there you go. We had our own resurrection morning in this house. I am so grateful that this got brought to the light when [youngest son] is only 19. Keep it in your heart so that you have courage to face this kind of stuff sooner rather than later in your own life.

It doesn't mean [youngest son] doesn't still have a hard road ahead of him to heal but the journey has begun with a big road block removed. Without your dad admitting his sin in response to me admitting mine [youngest son] and I could have tried and tried for years to get to a better place and nothing deep would have been accomplished. Your dad being a big enough person to admit his place in it was key. He owned what was his to own and the truth of that has set something free. I do know that I feel secure in my place with him for the first time. No longer competing with [youngest son]for his heart. I hope that makes sense. It most likely does as you are an intuitive person."

There is nothing more I can add to this part of my journey. I feel like I wrote this series of posts from a detached place....I don't think there are words for how painful the journey was through this and I have no wish to go back and relive it. I'm just glad to be on this side of it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Resurrection Journey Part Five

Read parts one, two, three, and four.

"I told dearest one that I had to be okay with being where I am in this, without forcing a change that would end up only skin deep. This is something God will work out in me as I'm open to his scalpel. And as much as I hate pain, there can only be beauty in seeing my and youngest son's relationship heal and become what it's potential has always been."
So I went to Good Friday service and the refrain "For the sake of your son, have mercy Lord." cut to the quick. It echoed in my head the rest of the day. That evening our little church community came together to pray the Stations of the Cross. The responses to the Stations were painful and I made my way through them with tears running down my face. Dearest one was silent beside me for most of it and I stood there thinking, "Oh, he's thinking this is all rote prayer and a bunch of hooey. That's why he isn't saying anything." How wrong I was. Later I shared with him my thoughts and he told me that praying the Stations of the Cross touches something so deep within himself that he is unable to speak.

Afterwards the Sacrament of Reconciliation was available for any who wanted it. Dearest one and I both went. Neither of us knowing the other was going to confess the brokeness of our relationship with youngest son. Throwing ourselves at the foot of the cross, asking God to do what we could not.
"So I went to Reconciliation last night with all this on my mind. Confessing my lack and asking for the grace to overcome. His mercy is my only hope. My only safe place of refuge."
And I ended my journal entry with these words from my big book:
"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment....unless I accept life on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes." ~ p. 449 Alcoholics Anonymous

Resurrection Journey Part Four

Read parts one, two, and three.

During Lent I realized that somewhere along the way my lifetime of wanting my mother's approval had disappeared. When I read only daughter's words about her visit with youngest son:
"We talked one evening about our mother. He used some of the exact phrasing that I had used in counselling three days before. It was a comfort to us both that we have the same problems with the same woman. It helped us to see that it isn’t in our heads. That the problems are real and solid because someone else felt them too."
I wondered if I had only transferred my need for approval from my mother to my children. I can so easily make every thing in life all about me. It takes no effort to do so. I took this latest realization, my musings about wanting my children's approval, to God and ask God to do what I cannot do for myself. I have no control over whether they ever get to the place of being okay with me. But being okay with myself, that is something I desire. As I wrote this all in my journal I ended it by quoting from my big book:
"Selfishness - self centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self seeking, and self pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation. but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt." ~ Alcoholics Anonymous p. 62
I went to bed on Holy Thursday unsettled. Trying my best to let go of it all. All the turmoil had me digging deep in various resources to keep my head above water. The scalpel of truth was going to cut even deeper but thank God I didn't know that beforehand.

Dearest one told me the next day (Good Friday)that youngest son had told him that all he wanted from me was to hear me say I was proud of him. That all I seemed to dish out to him was criticism for his choices, nagging him for his lifestyle. I sat there and listened to dearest one and thought to myself, "I can't say it."
"Suffering is a face-to-face encounter with something you don't want to face. It's your resistance against truth. Against reality. Against the very truth that would liberate you if you would only face it. Suffering is nature's attempt to help us face illusions we don't even suspect we harbour." ~ p. 88 in Praying Naked by J. Francis Stroud, S.J.
I seemed unable to separate youngest son's choices from himself as a person. The realization was not pretty. Especially since I have no problem doing the separating with other people. I sat there and thought about all the times I have sat in an AA meeting and been amazed at how honest people are and how comfortable they seem with what is. I wanted that. But I didn't know if I had the courage to actually live it. I saw for the first time how important it was for me to simply be where I was at on the journey instead of trying to pretend the truth wasn't the truth.
"It was humbling to admit this to dearest one, it doesn't make me look very good. But it helped him understand why youngest son doesn't feel my support. I told dearest one that until a change happens in my heart there is no point in anything coming from my mouth. I said youngest son would recognize the change in my spirit without me saying a word so that when the time comes for me to say I am proud of him it will ring true. God, what a journey. How hard it is to be willing to face myself. But there really is no other way."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Until Monday

I'm going to be away from the computer until next Monday. The rest of the ressurection journey story will have to wait until then. Tomorrow morning we go to court and find out what the sentence is for the man responsible for my brother-in-law's death. Tomorrow afternoon I have my regular chronic pain and fatigue meeting and after that I am away at a women's retreat until Sunday night.

Resurrection Journey Part Three

ReadPart One
ReadPart Two

You can imagine the stress level in our home. It was sky high. Youngest son was barely talking to me. None of it more than surface level and of that, very little. His arm was healing but I had no clue what was going on inside him. He was waiting for a call back from a counselor he had seen in the past, whom he trusts.

I finally felt secure in my relationship with dearest one. I felt like I finally was in my rightful place. Our opening up to each other; me about my hostility, and he, about his part in it, healed something on a deep level for me. So deep that when I went to share with him a few days later how I felt changed by it I couldn't speak for the tears.

Then one of my other kids said something that felt like a slam against me. It wasn't, but I was too hyper aware of my failings to discern that. And I was angry all over again. I could feel myself curling inward, into that safe ball of flesh where there is less of me to be exposed. I am nothing but a fucking failure went round and round in my mind.

That happened on Holy Thursday. A time when dearest one and I had planned on going to the service together, planned on washing each other's feet, spending some time together in Adoration. When dearest one got home from work, a difficult and stress filled day, he was exhausted. He had forgotten all about church. He chose to stay home with youngest son. I was devastated. I drove out of the yard with tears running down my face, muttering that religion was women's work. Oh, poor me.

While I was driving out the yard youngest son cynically said to dearest one, "She sure spends a lot of time at church." And dearest one told him it was not only life giving for me but had saved my life and until he had walked in my shoes to stop knocking it.

I went to Holy Thursday services feeling like there must be a disconnect between my inner and outer life. That maybe I was deceiving myself that any transformation was taking place at all. Here is a journal excerpt I wrote about that night:
"During Adoration last night I saw Mr. K. sitting in front of me and I thought about how devout he is about his faith. How rigid he is in his ideas about it. Thought about how his kids are nominal at best, absent at worst in their own faith. I sat there questioning myself. If my inner and outer lives were also that disconnected. Mr. K. likely has no idea how his devout life does not translate into every day action. I had to sit there and wonder if mine was like that. There was a time last night when I thought that perhaps no one will ever really know how deep my desire has been to be transformed. Maybe it will never translate into my daily life. And as I sat there and reflected all that came to me was that I was to trust. And when I questioned Jesus as to what that looked like it was as if he put his finger to his lips and said, "shh..shh" and closed the door. Trust meant not being concerned with what came next."

Resurrection Journey Part Two

Read Part One.

When I first went back to AA last summer I was continually amazed with how comfortable people were with where they were at. They were having a bad day? Oh, well. They kept doing the next right thing, knowing that however they were feeling, whatever their feelings towards another person, it was more important to acknowledge what was than wish to be in a different place. The thought of being like that alternately scared me and had me longing to know what it was like. I was still hung up on image and ego and wanting a nice pretty picture. As I went to more and more meetings I realized if I didn't learn how to get honest I was going to get drunk.

Three weeks ago youngest son took an exacto knife and made 13 cuts down his arm. His girlfriend made a frantic phone call to dearest one asking him to come there quick. When dearest one got there youngest son was sobbing and sobbing. The pain of where he was at pouring out, the pain too deep to keep inside anymore. Within an hour youngest son took a leave from work, packed up enough stuff to see him through a few days and moved home. Dearest one and I had been praying for a long time for youngest son to hit bottom but never in our wildest dreams did we think bottom could take the form of 13 slices down a forearm.

When someone asked me how I was doing with it I realized I felt detached and I wasn't even sure I was detached with love. The second evening home youngest son was telling me something when I interjected my thoughts. He looked at me and a slice of pain crossed his face. "Mom," he said, "That's one of the things you need to learn. To (shut up) and listen." Oh great, I thought to myself. I haven't learned a fucking thing since he moved out a year ago. This is the same conversation we were having before he moved out. Transformation, nada.

Before too many days I realized I was feeling downright hostile towards youngest son. It's times like this when I try to distance myself as far as possible from the feelings. I mean what mother with a child in crisis, feels hostile above every other feeling? I prayed for courage to sit with the feelings.

And the root of the hostility surfaced. When youngest son was born I nearly died. Dearest one stood there holding our newborn son watching the code team work on me and thought to himself, "I'm going to be the single dad of three kids." And a bond took place in that moment between him and youngest son. A bond he has always been proud of. A bond that meant his heart turned in an unhealthy way towards youngest son. In a way that I resented. In a way that left me feeling like I was always in competition with youngest son for dearest one's affections.

I knew as I sat with this that the hostility was not new. It was the source of the beneath the surface tension between me and youngest son ever since his birth. I went to dearest one and was honest about how hostile I felt towards our youngest son. How, with youngest son back in our home, I was scared that dearest one would turn his heart from me towards him. And dearest one, for the first time since youngest son's birth looked at me and said, "That bond between me and youngest son is unhealthy. It has damaged every relationship in this family. I promise you I won't turn my heart away from you towards him." And he owned what was his to own in the equation and I felt secure that his heart was turned towards me for good. Dearest one talked about how the hostility I felt towards youngest son should really be directed at him. That youngest son had never asked for that bond, for the role of being confidante to his father. That the anger youngest son felt towards me really belonged to him, too. That both of us had paid the price for his misplaced affections while he had been able to look like the nice guy. And dearest one was scared that admitting the truth would mean he would lose his nice guy image. What neither one of us remembered in that moment was, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." be contiued.

Resurrection Journey Part One

"Freedom is the acquired power of the Spirit who lets nothing hinder it from fulfilling the will of God." ~ Foundress SSND Blessed Theresa
I copied this quote down last October when I was at a journalling workshop. I learned journalling techniques that day that scared the crap out of me, techniques that bypassed my inner censor resulting in words on my page that flowed from that deep place within....the place I normally have a gate across. One technique was to record a conversation on the page with someone. To let the Spirit guide you and just write whatever came into your head. A few weeks before this workshop I saw a piece of art which showed Jesus holding a sign that said, "Take courage, I have healing in store for you." I chose to journal a dialogue with Jesus. The following is part of that dialogue:
Me: "I am scared to have this conversation with you Jesus. How full and deep your love is for me and I have such a hard time accepting it."

JC: "My child, look at how I hold your face in my hands. Look at me. Why are you so scared? Haven't I said over and over again, "Be not afraid"? That means of me, too. I love you just as you are. Right now."

Me: "But how come I can't love me as I am right now? Why? My head accuses me, my heart wants to yield. That is wearying."

JC: "A man at war within himself grows more weary than when he battles another. Can you hold up a white flag of surrender towards your own waring factions?"

Me: "I know my own inner turmoil keeps others away. It's as if I say to them "can't you see I'm busy?" Some of them only wish to hug me and give me courage for the journey. Yet I resist all.

JC: "Did you not see my note to you? "Take courage. I have healing in store for you." Do you not see my face in every Eucharist you receive? I am trying in many ways to reach you, to assure you yet you wrestle yourself away. You long for comfort and beat my chest with your fists if I come too close. What is it you really want?"

Me: "I want to feel safe within the comfort of your embrace. I want to relax and breathe deeply of your love. Here I am. Help me be at rest with who I am."

JC: "Look in the mirror with me. Let me tell you what I see. You are a woman of courage. A woman of strength. A woman who may feel beaten up by life but who will not be beaten down. You are scared to reach out your hand and take the hand of that little girl inside you who longs to run and play as if she has no cares - who is carefree. She smiles up at you tentatively ~ with hope that you will come play with her. Trust Hope, trust that I am the author of all play, of all that is good and healing in this world. Remember how I showed you that I was the Good Samaritan tending to your wounds? Remember how you jumped up and ran bleeding down the road, your hands over your ears? How the tears flowed and how painful your gait was? I am in it all. The healing, the hurt, the play, the good. Remember when you look at me that mercy will always triumph over judgement. Clothe yourself in mercy."

Me: "Is that what you were tending to my wounds with? Drops of merciful oil and wine. Opening myself up to your healing touch means making myself vulnerable. That I won't be able to stand the pain. That is my fear."

JC: "Just come to me no matter what. Hold up your head and boldy approach the throne of grace. Oil and wine will flow and cover it all. Let me tend to you. I have healing in store for you."
This conversation unnerved me so much that I didn't open up my journal for over two weeks and it was another 3 beyond that before I picked up my pen again. I've been a little gun shy of writing in it ever since. Then during Lent, while facing the woundedness of my youngest son, I turned back to my journal to try and sort out my thoughts.

When I opened my journal I found my last entry had ended with this prayer: "God wrench away the veil before my eyes. Search the darkest corners of my heart. Give me the courage to do the hard work. Transform me."

And the courage, the searching and the transformation happened despite me. I am still in awe. More to come....

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Resurrection Journey Prologue

You'd think my love affair with computers might have improved during my absence but no such luck!. Trying to sign in to my blog after nearly 6 weeks of not doing so was just as frustrating as the last time I tried. C'est la vie

Being away from this blog was very good for me. There were many times when I went to log off the computer and at the last minute remembered I had a blog that I could check. That's a tiny miracle in itself! For most of the time I did not miss blogging. Not having this as an outlet forced me to do more soul searching than I would have otherwise. I had to sit with my situation and my thoughts and wrestle with them. Sometimes it is easy for me to think I've dealt with something because I've written about it on here. As if words take care of everything. I began to journal again. I have no idea how far I've come, if any, in my thirst for feedback but I did learn I could survive without it.

If you remember Fr. Charlie challenging me to get comfortable looking at my body in a mirror just know that my latest revelation is that my body resembles a mini sumo wrestler. Somehow that is fitting considering how much wrestling has gone on within me lately.

Lent was a very fruitful journey for me. Pain filled and hopeful. Times of desperation and times of rest. Much, much prayer. There were two days when the local power company turned the power off for 4 hour stretches at a time to do service work on the lines. Weather permitting they said. I woke up to -21C only to find that lovely temperature qualified as weather permitting. Being alone in a house with no noise was very restful. No fridge humming. No furnace blasting. No TV and no radio distractions. It was good, even when it was cold.

We had lots of snow and the winter snowfall total is over the seven foot mark. No wonder then, that there are still several feet of snow on the lawn. Youngest son spent a few days last week riding the quad on top of the snow crust. Spring will come. We saw a few brave pussy willows today but there were too many feet of snow to wade through to reach them so we had to be content to view them from afar.

I celebrated 19 years of sobriety during Lent and 20 weeks of abstinence from sexual addiction. I came so close to losing that abstinence that I took myself off to Reconciliation and have felt swathed in a cloak of grace about it ever since.

Holy Week was the most stress filled, painful path I've experienced in a long time. I have much to share but need to clear some of it with a family member before I share the journey with you. I need to get it down on "paper" for our own family's benefit. To remind us in the tough times that there can be no resurrection without a willingness to carry our crosses and die to self.

I found this quote that captures part of the reason why I'm choosing to continue to post here:
"Miracles may show me the saint, they do not show me how he became a saint: and that is what I want to see. It is not the completed process that intrigues me: it is the process itself: for you see, my work is not to be a saint. Tell me what was churning in his soul as he battled his way up from selfishness and the allurements of sin to the great heart of God." ~M. Raymond, O.C.S.O. in Seeking God by Esther de Waal

I trust you want to know what churns in another's soul just as much as I do.